This expression has recently arrived at the LCBO (I think it was previously available only in NY for some reason). With this one, the pot still is blended with "small-batch" grain whiskeys (with a higher ratio of pot still), and matured in a combination of American oak sherry casks and flame-charred bourbon barrels. Information and tasting notes are printed stylishly across the entire cardboard box, in text that is almost the same colour as the background - very annoying.
The colour is a full gold - perhaps a slight hint darker than the standard Jameson. On the nose, buttered toast, tropical fruits, plums, grapeseed oil. Grassy and savoury - an herb garden. Hints of oak, with caramel and vanilla. Nutty. More barley sugar with water. Very nice cereal notes - you can tell there is more pot-still in this than in the standard Jameson.
Rich and round on the palate with an oaky pull; also apples, pears, strawberries and papaya. As with the nose, caramel and vanilla come with the charred casks. Some lovely spice. Juicy and mouth-watering, more so with water. Fuller than the standard blend.
The finish is not as furry as the standard Jameson but not perfect: more herbs, sherry and oak with late-arriving apple and spice. This is quite delicious, a much stronger offering than the standard Jameson (but quite a bit more expensive in Ontario: $32 vs. $50) Tasting them side-by-side, there is no contest - the Black Barrel is a very fine whiskey indeed. Dominic Roskrow scores this a 90, and Jim Murray scores this a 91.5.